5 Questions to Ask to Increase Utility Savings
suspended ceiling and drywall construction in the decoration of the apartment

According to EPA, the average building wastes 30% of the energy it consumes because of inefficiencies. The nearly 5 million buildings across the country are responsible for nearly 20% of the country’s energy use. This can add up to quite a lot of wasted energy and associated costs.

Mary Nitschke, RealPage’s Vice President of Sustainability, says that “the future of sustainability should be yours.” By answering and acting upon a handful of questions, you can take the right steps today to improve your property to be more sustainable. Read below to learn about a few of these items:

1. How many thermostats are in the common area, and are they smart?

In a common area, a thermostat’s temperature settings could be changed by someone walking by, for example, a resident. However, a smart thermostat, which can learn the optimal, energy efficient temperature for that area and adjust accordingly, can take the burden off of the maintenance staff from manually adjusting each one. A smart thermostat can maintain the ideal temperature to maximize comfort and energy efficiency. Learn more about the three ways that smart thermostats reduce operational expenditures.

2. If you are renovating, can you choose LED lights?

LED lights have longer lifetimes compared to incandescent lights, and are more efficient than most fluorescent lights. Since 2010, Americans are consuming less electricity per capita, largely due to the increase in energy efficient lighting, including LED lights. Inefficient lighting can also get hot, which could compete with and drive up the air conditioning usage. LED lights are doubly beneficial in multifamily.

3. Do you understand all of the definitions of a “leak”?

A typical leak brings up the images of a dripping faucet or overflowing toilet. However, another type of leak is leaking air by propping open a window when venting out an odor. This points to a potential area of improvement with the HVAC system (learn more about what a smart HVAC system can do for you).

Water leaks can lead to expensive and extensive damages, and looking into smart devices like leak sensors can prevent and/or alert property staff before the issue escalates.

4. Is your compactor functioning properly, and is it needed? 

The trash compactor on your property could be less useful as it gets older and doesn’t function as well anymore. It may not be compacting as much as it did when it was brand new, and it could be adding additional trash pickups, which increase fees. It could be more cost-effective in the long run to purchase a new compactor.

In some cases, the price of compacted waste could be higher than waste in loose bins, and this could be the opportunity to re-examine which method works best for your property and residents.

5. Are you connected to peers?

A property manager’s job can be quite demanding, and takes away valuable time from vetting new technology and learning industry best practices around sustainability. However, if you’re connected to peers, you’re also connected to people who are also looking to innovate the resident experience. The Facebook group Multifamily ShareSpace! and the LinkedIn group IoT for Multifamily Executives (IoT 4 MFE)  are both great spaces to learn from and with multifamily peers and leaders.

Listen to Mary’s full podcast here “12 Things You Can Do Right Now to Gain Control Over Your Utilities.” To keep learning more about sustainability in multifamily housing, check out the Sustainability Series podcast.



STRATIS®, a RealPage Company, creates smart apartments and intelligent buildings and is the only platform of its kind built for the complexities of multifamily and student housing. STRATIS is installed worldwide across the U.S., in Japan, the UK, EU, and Latin America. STRATIS now serves hospitality, retail, and small to mid-size commercial, as well. STRATIS is an Inc. Magazine “Fastest Growing Company in America” and a Top Ten Entrepreneur Magazine “Best Company in America.” STRATIS was recently acquired by RealPage to enable STRATIS Smart Building, a more connected lifestyle, and unleash hidden yield through new revenue streams.

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